The other day I was in the mall with my wife, giving in to the gravitational pull coming from the Starbucks black hole at the center of the building. As we were floating helplessly toward overpriced coffee, we noticed a Microsoft stand that was fully equipped with Surface RT and Surface Pro devices. Well, this was a little too much for me – coffee I can resist sometimes but shiny new tech that you can touch, poke, and prod? Nope, can’t resist that.
The first thing I thought when I picked it up and grabbed it was that the thing was hot. Not just warm but really, uncomfortably hot. I imagine a portion of this heat comes from the fact that it’s tethered to a plug and has been in use all day by people just like me wanting to poke and prod it and grab the shiny new device. All of the tablets I own get warm(ish) when charging, so I’m not going to count that in the cons column just yet.
With the kickstand extended in the back and the touch cover keyboard laid out on the table in front of it, it felt kind of like a slightly wider-than-mine iPad, with a bluetooth keyboard. I have a lot of experience using an iPad + BT keyboard combo – this is what I prefer to write my fiction on while I am on the go and don’t expect to have a flat surface (see what I did there?) on which to put my full-size laptop.
The touch experience was as expected – absolutely, completely top notch. You really must find yourself a place (Best Buy I believe has these as well) where you can touch a Surface Pro (or RT) in person. It doesn’t quite have the same loose, floppy feel of the iOS touch response, it actually feels a little stickier, as though the glass itself is a little less glossy, and that’s a good thing.
Then came the stylus. I played with it inside OneNote RT and thought it was pretty darn impressive, but then again, I remember many, many years ago (5+) I had a flip-around tablet/laptop combination that used a stylus and I thought that was impressive too… but I never used it. I can imagine using the stylus if I am taking notes in a meeting, at a conference taking notes, or am drawing out some architectures, designs, flow charts, etc. People who draw anything and want to keep a record of that will benefit from this, but that’s a benefit of OneNote and not an advantage exclusive to the Surface Pro.
The Surface Pro is the only tablet-sized device capable of running “old” Windows stuff, e.g. stuff not written using the new RT layout and sandbox. I love the WinRT look, feel, and design aesthetic. I loved it when I saw its predecessor on Windows Phone and I still love it now. As an operating environment it actually gives me much better access to what I want and how I want it than either iOS or Android.
The real question, however, is will I buy one? Nope. Until the Surface Pro comes with the same Apps that I use on my iPad right now on a daily basis, there’s absolutely no way I can justify spending $900 on a tablet, even if it has laptop-spec’d power and a stylus and is a really freaking cool device. If I did not currently own a single tablet, I would instantly snatch one of these bad boys up. However, since I currently own an iPad that does what I need, I can’t justify the cost of switching.
When my iPad breaks, I will then seriously consider a Surface Pro or whatever MS calls the newest version at that time.
Ever since I did get a chance to fondle it, I have found that my hands crave having the device in their grasp. I actually want to go back to this kiosk and play with the Surface Pro some more. I had that experience with the Windows Phone and I have it tenfold with the Surface Pro. I just wish I could justify spending the cash on it. Who knows, maybe when I get around to making another game client, I’ll buy a Surface Pro as a tax deduction for a tester device.